Most non-commuting college freshmen live in dormitories, whether it’s for financial reasons or a requirement of their universities. But living in a dorm is vastly different than living at home and can require a huge adjustment, often as big as adjusting to college itself. Whether you’re a current dorm resident or will be soon, the following tips can help you not only adjust to dorm life but to college life in general.
Make it Like Home
In addition to bringing your dorm room essentials, you should also decorate your space to make it your own. One great way to brighten your room is to bring pictures of family, friends, pets, and other things that make you happy. Choose decorations in you favorite colors or patterns. There will be restrictions on what you can do, so be sure to check before making changes. You may also want to speak with your roommate to be sure everything is okay with him or her.
Get to Know Your Roommate(s) and RA
Your resident advisor can be a great resource in times of trouble, whether it’s a roommate conflict or something broken in your room. Resident advisors generally try to introduce themselves when new students move in and regular floor meetings may be held, so take advantage of opportunities to interact with your RA.
Developing a positive relationship with your roommate(s) is crucial to a happy dorm life. You may not become best friends, but you should be able to communicate comfortably and generally enjoy each other’s company. If you’re having problems with a roommate, talk to your RA immediately. It’s possible you can be matched with someone who better fits your personality.
Live Life Outside the Dorm
Being cooped up in a tiny dorm room all the time can make anyone crazy. It’s important to get out of your dorm regularly, whether it’s studying at the library or taking a walk. When you spend most of your time outside the dorm, you’ll see it as a place to go for rest and relaxation rather than as a prison cell.
Keep Your Space Clean and Organized
Dorm rooms are usually small and cramped, especially when you share it with a roommate. Keeping your space organized will make you feel more comfortable, calm, and productive. Try to designate different areas for sleeping and studying, and have a regular cleaning schedule.
Your adjustment to life in the dorm will depend on your personality and staying away from home. Some students feel at home immediately while others take several months to become comfortable. But no matter how foreign living in the dorms seems to you, it’s possible to be content with dorm life if you make the effort and give yourself time.